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August 30, 2011 > Washington Township Railroad Fair

Washington Township Railroad Fair

By Mauricio Segura

There is a special nostalgic feeling that comes over a person when they think about trains. Some feel it more than others, but there certainly is a magic that surrounds them. Don't believe it? Have you ever tried going to Disneyland without riding the railroad for a lap around the park? Erin Spinelli of San Leandro stated that although she had a wonderful time at the park with her family last June, they unfortunately didn't ride the train. And in retrospect, "I was really disappointed." In fact, in a recent survey, most people agreed that their visit to Disneyland would seem incomplete without taking a ride on the railroad.

So what is it about trains that draw people to them? Could it be that Hollywood has played a part in implanting the mystique into our psyches? We've all come across those old westerns on late night TV in which the masked "Baker" gang ride their horses with guns held high on a quest to stop the train and rob it of loot. Or who can forget Doc Brown and the flying time traveling train from "Back to the Future 3"? Even during the last decade, how many of us have enjoyed meeting Harry and the gang on platform 9 and 3/4 to catch the Hogwarts Express bound for another adventure? The magic of trains is all around us.

Maybe it's the real history of trains. After all, trains had been carrying passengers for at least 100 years before the airplane was even invented. They bridged gaps and allowed people to migrate to regions that would not have been feasible otherwise. In the U.S. alone, it was the steam train that made the expansion of the country possible. As Trudy Frank of The Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources (SPCRR) put it, "We wouldn't have the west the way we do now without the railroad. They opened lines of communication and made room for advancement long before the internet was even thought of. Literally and metaphorically speaking, trains have been the light at the end of the tunnel."

This Labor Day weekend SPCRR along with Ardenwood Historic Farm would like to invite families of all ages to discover the wonder of trains at the 11th Annual Washington Township Railroad Fair. Be part of an estimated 4,000 people expected to share in the fun, and experience first-hand the celebration and history of the railroad. Live music and the aroma of great food will fill the air, while guests will get a chance to ride two nineteenth century steam trains. If you're up for it, try your hand (and back) at self-powering a handcar down the rails. Experts from the SPCRR will be available to answer questions about the restoration processes and the history of the local railways, particularly the contribution of the Carter brothers, who built railcars in their Newark warehouse from 1877-1902.

Along with the railroad fair, Ardenwood Farm will also be in full swing with tours of the Patterson House and farmyard. Learn the art of blacksmithing, organic farming, or have a little fun petting the farm animals. You can even enjoy a picnic with food from the country kitchen.

There will plenty to do and see all weekend long. And since trains can unite generations, grandparents, parents, and sons and daughters can take advantage and make some wonderful memories at this intergenerational bonding event.

All aboard!

Washington Township Railroad Fair
Saturday, Sep 3 - Monday, Sep 5
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Ardenwood Historic Farm Regional Park
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
(866) 417-7277

Tickets: $8 adults, $6 seniors (62+), $5 children ages 4-17, children under 3 free
Free parking

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